I know that spring training stats don’t matter. I usually don’t get enamored by things people do in spring training. Part of it is that a majority of pitchers are just trying to work out their pitches and locating them consistently and they are throwing a lot of fastballs to work in that arm. Hitters are just working on their timing and then again sitting on those fastballs.
Case and point yesterday when Brad Brach left a 90 mph fastball right down the very middle of the plate and Carlos Peguero hammed it over the right field fence.
Now, I’m not trying to take away anything from Peguero but it was a batting practice fastball. We know what he can do with those. I would have been elated had it been a breaking ball, especially after Brach throwing an fastball away on the first pitch. Not trying to take anything away, but at the same time. I’m not putting a lot of stock into it. Even I was sitting on a fastball in that at bat.
Now, of course this brings us to Erik Bedard. To me, and this is just my opinion, Spring Training matters to him and the organization. Maybe not the results but, the peripherals such as location, velocity and mechanics. These things matter more so with Erik Bedard than anyone else.
Yesterday he threw 6 fastballs, 5 for strikes. His fastballs came in at 90, 92, 90, 90, 90 and 91. They most importantly were placed well and I don’t know if the gun at Peoria runs or cold but that seems just about spot on to me. Considering the follow based on his velocity numbers retrieved from Fangraphs PitchFX below.
Then you can also point out that he also threw 3 breaking balls out of 9 total pitches, which is encouraging. It’s not always something you see this early in spring training by pitchers. The Padres starter, Tim Stauffer, threw 37 pitches and while mixing his four-seamer with his cutter and a few change-ups he only threw one curve ball.
One other thing to look at with Bedard, as I mentioned before, location. It maybe just a small sample size but it’s fun to look at and appreciate what he (Bedard) did. Which was more than just throw strikes. He worked a semi game plan.
Below are some jpegs of the game day information.
Now here you can also use fangraphs heatmaps to see how he works with his fastball. The 2009 results and his inning thrown sunday are similar and it just shows me that this was more than just about going out and throwing some pitches. He was prepared, sharp and hit his spots.
You can legitimately argue about the sample size above and how this is way too involved for one inning and that is absolutely true. But just a reminder that this is for a pitcher who threw all of 11 innings last year (all in the minor leagues and only 4.1 above rookie ball in Arizona) it’s a positive thing. You can be pessimistic about the results. Keith and I debate about Bedard all the time and that’s okay. But, there is no way you can rationally argue that yesterday wasn’t a huge step in the right direction for both Erik Bedard and the Seattle Mariners.